Actes de la Conférence > Contributions par auteur > Uziahu Liel

Israeli geographical indications - Unrealized potential that can be realized?
Liel Uziahu  1@  
1 : The Hebrew University of Jerusalem  (HUJ)  -  Site web
Jerusalem 91905 -  Israël


Geographical indications (GIs) are distinctive signs which enable consumers to distinguish between products with geographical origin-based characteristics and others without those characteristics. GIs can thus be a key element in developing quality-bound-to-origin products with great economic impact. Furthermore, GIs convey the cultural identity of a nation, region, or specific area. They can give added value to local products and thus make them preferred by consumers. GIs can apply to any product type. However, most of them are food, beverages and agriculture products.

There is no great difficulty to recall different GIs from different countries around the world. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese from Italy, Kalamata olive oil from Greece, Tequila from Mexico, Bordeaux wines from France and Darjeeling tea from India are worldwide well-known GIs. This is not the case when one tries to recall Israeli GIs. This is no wonder since there are only 7 of them.

Israel has a great potential of producing various bound-to-origin products. The Land of Israel is a unique and diverse region. Although it is one of the smallest countries in the world, it lies between diverse geological, physiological, and climatic elements. Israel enjoys several climatic zones despite its limited area. The question that arises is why this is not reflected in a significant registration of products as GIs, given its benefits.

The protection of GIs is being explored more and more worldwide as a tool for supporting local sustainable development, stimulating the economy, increasing international trade, and promoting cultural and social exposure. However, academic writing and research on Israeli GIs are extremely limited.

The purpose of this paper is to explore GIs with the Israeli perspective. The paper discusses the Israeli legal framework regarding GIs and appellations of origin. At first glance it appears that by adopting the international legal framework, Israel has an extensive legal framework for protecting local goods. It has Sui generis protection system and both GIs and appellations of origin are governed, by statute, under the Appellations of Origin and GIs (Protection) Law. Israel is also a member of the Lisbon Agreement.

However, notwithstanding the evolution of Israel's legal framework over the years, problems related to the GIs regulation remain. Focusing on the Israeli wine industry, this paper traces the possible reasons for not realizing the potential of protecting Israeli products as GIs. No actual legislative steps have yet been taken towards a mandatory classification of wine regions. Moreover, no actual actions have yet been taken regarding the supervision of the use of wine regions names on labels of wine bottles produced in Israel. Some other difficulties are the lack of effective means of supervision and control, the lack of a body legally authorized to update the wine regions, and the lack of clear and binding professional criteria regarding the determination of the boundaries of the wine regions.

By examining the great benefits GIs registration offers, this paper will put forward arguments supporting a policy of raising awareness and encouraging manufacturers, by the Israeli public authorities, to register their products as GIs.

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